When the Patriots and 49ers were contenders, my sentiments were mixed. The Patriots sprang from my native New England. On the other hand, I have been in love with San Francisco ever since I set foot there, to say nothing of my journeyman years up in Eureka when almost everyone looked to Herb Caen’s Baghdad-by-the-Bay.
I was torn when a match between those teams in East Rutherford, N.J., seemed likely, or so I maintained. In fact, as a friend in my exercise class remarked, “You can’t help yourself.” For richer or poorer, I was wedded to the Patriots.
But for almost two weeks — to risk a trite expression — it’s a whole new ballgame, the choice being between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks, the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold climate in East Rutherford, a mass transit ride from the heart of Manhattan.
Alas, I am bereft, with allegiance to neither Seattle or Denver. I last saw Denver three years ago when the Lady Friend and I visited her sister who lives in the mile-high city. We drove some around the gray country. It was October; the colors had fled. But we did share a moment of elation when we came across a place named Mom’s. It promised great home cooking. It was horrible. We’d forgotten the adage to which we’ve usually been bound: “Never eat in a place called Mom’s, never play cards with a guy named Doc.”
In my time producing for the CBS program “Sunday Morning,” I spent a few days at the Brown Hotel in Denver. My boss told me I’d like it. It was a favorite hotel of Harry Truman’s. The bar was famous. All true, I guess, but not enough to replace the Patriots or the 49ers in my affections.
Seattle is another matter. I spent months at nearby Fort Lewis during my stint in the Army after World War II. The U.S. was at peace, Army life a lark, a summer camp. On bivouac, despite the damp climate, I could almost always count on catching sight of Mt. Rainier, a brooding colossus. Seattle was a playground on weekend passes, a hilly, seaside city with a gaze to Alaska and bustling traffic for the Far East. I dated a WAC, a member of the Women’s Army Corps. She was a sergeant. I was a T/4 or technical corporal. Though we got along, rank still mattered to both of us.
To be sure, I’ll be watching Sunday but without much to cheer about; however, I admire Peyton Manning, who will turn 38 in March, and is in his 16th season, and still performing at an elite level.
As Walter Cronkite used to say, “And that’s the way it is.”
This article originally appeared in the San Leandro Times.